Thomas/By S. Bradley

Throughout the Stanley Cup Final the Vancouver Canucks have tried to beat Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas with more than just shots.

Criticism of his play outside of the crease area and his making contact with Canucks players has been part of the conversation seemingly since Day One, even though those topics weren’t an issue for the most part through the first 100 games of the season.

Bruins winger Brad Marchand figures that Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo’s post-Game 5 comments about Thomas’ missing of the lone goal in that game is just another part of the Canucks’ psychological assault on their netminder.

“I just think [Thomas is] playing so well right now and that’s just how they decided to go about things. It’s what they’re doing,” said the Bruins winger today.

The Canucks are now one win away from capturing the Cup. But rattling Thomas’ cage probably isn’t the best approach considering earlier in this series Thomas allowed just one goal over two games at TD Garden. For the series he has surrendered six goals heading into Monday night’s Game 6 at home.

That’s probably why Luongo tried to backtrack on his statements and accentuate the positive in what he said today.

“I said also that he might make some saves that I don’t, so I was just saying on that particular play I would have played it different and that’s the difference between me and him,” Luongo told the assembled media in Vancouver.  “I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started, and I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me, so that’s the way it is.”

Well, if Luongo’s waiting for verbal bouquets from Thomas, he shouldn’t hold his breath. And that’s the point. This is not the time of year for players to be critiquing or complimenting opponents. This is the time to just focus on what’s going on in one’s own locker room.

That’s the way Andrew Ference and the Bruins look at it.

“I don’t know. I mean everybody’s going to do their own thing and handle themselves in certain ways and that’s not up for us to control,” said the defensman. “You control what comes out of your mouth and you stand by it. So you know what comes out of other people’s mouths is their decision that’s not something we get too worked up about or you know sit home worrying about. It’s not something you can control.”

Bruins head coach Claude Julien pointed out that the words are overshadowed by something else — the numbers.

“Either way, [Thomas’] stats, you know, are proof itself. He’s given up six goals in five games,” said Julien. “The guy that made the comment, I’m not quite sure how many he let in. I think you guys have a good idea, so I don’t think [Thomas is] going to lose sleep over that.”